Neuville takes Corsica victory for Hyundai
WRC Corsica Rally

Neuville takes Corsica victory for Hyundai

10/04/2017

Thierry Neuville took his and Hyundai's first World Rally Championship victory of the season on the Tour of Corsica, making it four different winners in four different cars to start 2017.

The turning point of the rally came on Saturday afternoon. The day's stages - with loose gravel in sections and narrower roads - suited the Belgian and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, and on the last stage of the morning, Novella, they overcame Sebastien Ogier's M-Sport Ford Fiesta for second.

On the same stage, Kris Meeke's Citroen retired from the lead with engine woes, giving Neuville a lead he wouldn't lose.

Fastest stage times on SS8 and SS9 secured the win, coming after he had crashed out of the lead of the first two events of the season, and finished third in Mexico.

The Belgian won the event in 2011 in a Peugeot 207 S2000 when it wasn't part of the WRC, the first win as a pairing for Neuville and Gilsoul.

Ogier held second behind Neuville after Meeke's C3 WRC expired, but he dropped time on the final stage of Saturday, his Fiesta relegated to rear-wheel-drive and no paddleshift with hydraulic issues.

More problems followed on Sunday morning for Ogier who added electrical dramas to his woe, the Frenchman reporting the car had "no power, anti-lag or handbrake" at the end of the event.

Despite losing second to Dani Sordo on the penultimate stage, the championship leader won the place back on the powerstage to finish 54.7s behind Neuville.

Sordo declared Saturday morning's opening stage the worst of his career but the asphalt specialist made sure Hyundai had two drivers on the podium taking third.

He kept at bay a rampant Toyota of Jari-Matti Latvala who stole fourth from Craig Breen - the sole remaining Citroen - by 0.1s on the powerstage after what he described as a "crazy attack".

That netted Latvala the powerstage victory and the five championship points that go with it.

Breen took fifth despite doing the whole Novella stage on Saturday with no intercom. He sits sixth in the championship points despite missing Mexico and doing Monte Carlo in an older-spec car.

Hayden Paddon was the last WRC car in the top 10 in sixth, continuing his asphalt development.

Ott Tanak finished just outside the top 10 after he crashed on Friday and then suffered a spark plug issue on Saturday.

Juno Hanninen had myriad problems, crashing on Friday before setting top three stage times on Saturday. Citroen's Stephane Lefebvre and DMACK's Elfyn Evans crashed on Saturday morning.

Andreas Mikkelsen returned to WRC2 to take victory for Skoda, steering his Fabia R5 to a winning margin of 1m06.3s as he continues his attempts to get back in a WRC seat.

Teemu Suninen, M-Sport Fiesta R5 driver, took second with Yohan Rossel third.

Nil Solans opened the Junior World Rally Championship season with victory as the category switches from Citroen DS 3 R3s to Fiesta R2Ts.

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